Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Craig Is My Best Friend

Whoever Craig is, I really like his list.
A couple of months ago, I scored some barstools for only $30 for the pair. They looked like this: 

Let's jazz them up a bit, shall we?
The covers were removable, so I took em off and spray painted the bottom a glossy black. 
Then I tried to dye the white covers a lovely robin's egg blue with some Rit Dye. 
Bad Idea.
UGLY was the result:

a bad tye-dye job
 So I took a trip to my happy place, Fabricana, ripped those covers right apart with my trusty seam ripper... and used them as a pattern to make new ones!

Lay the old pieces out on the new fabric, right sides together. Don't make the mistake I did, cut the pieces slightly larger for a little bit of lee-way room.  

Remember to number the pieces!
 I found an adorable pattern in an indoor/outdoor fabric which makes for extremely washable and durable covers (great for my future Dugger-sized family). Sew them up the same way you took them apart!

And the result: 

There's even velcro tabs to secure it to the frame!

Now come over and sit your behind down in one of them. Deliciously cozy. 

Some of you may be thinking, "Deanne, your house must be a-shambles because of all the crafting you do!" Well... it is. But I try to clean up. And I have my very own crafty lady room where I'm allowed to be as messy as I want, The Husband said so. So here it is in its messy entirety. This is the place of my inspiration...
or so the sign says...

It needs more decor, no?

Here's a game. Spot all the times of thriftyness and... feel awesome about yourself. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Let There Be Light

Once upon a time, there lived the ugliest lamp on the face of the planet. 

I'm an ugly lamp.

I purchased this little beauty from MCC one day, one of my favorite shopping locals.
"How much for this lamp, good fellow?" asked I to the lovely man in his late 70's in his permanent position behind a workbench in a back corner of the store. 
"10 bucks for the both of them," he replied with little emotion. 
Oh joy! There were two!
I was shocked at what little passion he felt about the fantastic deal he was extending to me. Before he could realize his mistake and snatch my new prized possessions away from me, I rushed to the front counter, handed over my bill and raced from the store. 

A little black spray paint, purchased from your friend and mine, ICI paints,  for a decent employee discount, and a new shade from my place of temptation, Home Sense, and I had 2 beautiful new lamps.
I am truly lovely.
How do I do this? you ask. Have no fear. I am here.
Step 1) Develop The Eye
It's hard to see the beauty in the midst of horror. 
Instead of looking at something for what it is, look at it for what it could be. 
Ignore the details and look at the SHAPE. 
These bases had lovely curves. Sure they were brass and wood and some foreign gold metal, but they were rounded and had the filigree design I was looking for. Colour can be changed, shape can not. Well, can not without the help of some hefty tools I do not currently have in my possession. Once you've found your perfectly shaped item, you're halfway there!

Step 2) Stripping (Please keep your clothes on)
Strip your item down to the bare essentials, remove all the clutter! In this case, those Kentucky Derby meets Gone With the Wind shades immediately found themselves in the nearest dumpster. Any other bauble was removed and I was left with the one solid piece.

Step 3) Prepare to Meet Your Fumes
Find a spray paint with the finish you are looking for (flat, satin, semi-gloss, or gloss are your options). In this case I went for a pure black gloss. Oil (Enamel or Direct to Metal) paints will require no priming but are harder to remove if a spray-happy accident were to occur. This requires clean up with thinner.
 If you buy a latex, PLEASE PRIME! You will not be happy if you don't and I will not show you any sympathy. 
In this case, since I was spraying over metal, I opted for the oil option. If ever in doubt, ask me. As my friends in the hood say, I can hook you up. (P.S. I grew up in Hepburn, SK. I don't know anyone in the hood. But I'd sure like to!) 
Spray in a well-ventilated (badly ventilated if you'd like to opt to experience hallucinations) area. Set the item on some old cardboard and have at 'er! Follow the instructions on the can with how far away to hold the nozzle, etc. Let it dry, and do a second coat if needed. 

Step 4) Have Patience, Have Patience, Don't Be in Such a Hurry
Now comes the hard part, finding the shades to match perfectly. Please never be fooled into thinking projects like these just materialize. Many hours are spent on the hunt for the perfect fit! 
If you find something, take it home and try it. If it's horrid, return it and try again. Repeat process. 

Step 5) Enjoy

Lamp bases: $10
Spray paint: $4.00
Shades: $30
Total cost of purchase (for 2 lamps): $44.00

Average price for table lamp: $80
Total monies saved: $58

And that, my friends, is how its done. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Beginning

I've made a commitment.

I live in a country of extreme materialsm. I can have anything I want for a price. It's shiny, its new, its made in bulk.
 To defy the odds, I've decided to buy used.

Used tells a story. Pre-owned means someone else loved it first. Thrifting means saving money for more important things. Putting love into improving an otherwise unloved item gives a sense of pride and success that will never be experienced from swiping a plastic card. Ugly can be beautiful, a throwaway can be a gem, it just takes time and energy, like most good things in the world.

I extend my hand to you to join me on my journey to living a secondhand life.
Find joy as I share my love for making things beautiful.